Richmond, Virginia: Travel Blog!
If you’ve followed our travels this year, you’ve heard us talk about how much we love seeing smaller cities and towns with a unique sense of place and charm. We consider ourselves pretty down to earth run-of-the-mill southern gays, and so we’ve been most comfortable in places that have small town charm, and kind, genuine residents. So, when we had the chance to visit Richmond, Virginia, we knew we’d be in for a treat.
What we didn’t expect though, was just how GAY it would be. Seriously!
From the seemingly unanimous support of the Pride festival happening during our visit, to a restaurant run by a man in a Tom of Finland apron (more on that below), to a decades-old LGBTQ theatre in town—it seems that queer people have really made their mark on this cute little southern city. We had a blast, and think that you will, too.
Below are a few of the things we did and saw. You should do and see them, too!
Definitely hit up the Quirk hotel. The entire place is magical, pink, and refined but not arrogant or stuffy in the least. The lobby and restaurant/bar is always buzzing with people, which makes sense because the food and drinks were damn good. And the staff is super sweet!
Our room was a king suite even though we specifically told them we were more of the princess type. It was awesome. Like, we stay in a lot of hotels y’all, and this place was REALLLLY cool. An entire wall of the room was basically one big window—do you KNOW the kind of lighting that gives you for Instagram photos?!
If you can’t make it here for a stay, at least check out the rooftop bar. Unfortunately it doesn’t open till 5, fellow day drinkers, but it’s got a great view of the city and is a fantastic spot to chill out for sunset or late into the night.
OK so first off we have to talk about Chef David Shannon and his Tom of Finland apron at L’opossum. He’s a James Beard award semifinalist that has created what we would consider to be a perfect restaurant. The menu is quirky and full of pop culture references and gay slang, but also culinarily incredibly exciting. The decor definitely skews kinky-hoarder-eccentric-grandma in the best way possible, and the music is about as wild. Its dim and dark but also bubbly and fun, and a place you should 100% absolutely try out. Though, quick note, it is a bit pricey and we were told it can be hard to get a table— so check prices beforehand and you may want to try booking up to a month or so in advance!
For breakfast or lunch, give Perly’s a try. It’s a Jewish deli serving absolutely phenomenal, massive, hearty plates filled with things like latkes, schnitzel, and pastrami. Dear lord it was such a good breakfast! We got the Benny Goodman and the Schneitzel Perlstein. Is there a word for combining “yas” and “yum”? YASUM???? It was yasum.
Andddd if you want locally sourced ingredients in a welcoming setting with prices that won’t kill you, Pasture has got your back! It’s a great place to go on a weekend night, as it’s on a busy little street that’ll make you feel like you’re out on the town, but it’s far from overwhelming. All of the food we got was great, from the frito pie to the bistro steak!
Oh also go to the South of James Farmers Market on Saturday morning. It is HUGE and full of local goodies and foods and basically anything you’d ever want from a farmers market.
Adorable Shopping in Carytown
OK so this is where we were most surprised. Richmond is FULL of adorable spots to shop. And we don’t even consider ourselves shoppers? Like, we don’t consider shopping a fun thing to do while on vacation because spending money usually makes us panic, but this was fun.
You’re gonna wanna go straight to Carytown, credit card in hand, and check out these places: Need Supply for kinda pricey but gorgeously curated clothing made for any Instagram model, Na Nin for oils and scents and other things that will make your house feel like luxury, Mongrel for local nick-nacks and actually very cute gifts, and OMG Addison for incredibly priced well-curated vintage and handmade clothing and LOTS OF DENIM. And Chop Suey books reminded us of why brick and mortar bookstores are so much better than online shopping, their staff is very well read and knew exactly the right recommendations to make.
Arts and Cultural
A few important things: look up Michael Birch and see if his work is being shown in town and if so, GO. He’s a queer artist who does BIZARRE stuff with embroidery, a lot of which involves weiners, sequins, fabrics, and frames. Very good, very diverse, very fun.
Also, see if the Richmond Triangle Players are producing anything, and if so, GO. RTP is a LGBTQ theatre that was founded in 1993 and produces a ton of plays, most of which involve LGBTQ issues, topics, and interests.
Then, walk by the Maggie Walker Monument and appreciate the fact that she was a black civil rights activist that created, fostered, and uplifted black businesses during the Jim Crow era, and now she’s got a massive gorgeous monument in the middle of Richmond.
THEN, take your butt down to the Jefferson Hotel for a peak (or a drink) at the space, which was built in 1895. We love old stuff!
We had an absolutely fantastic time, and would love to take another trip. Thanks a million to Visit Richmond for making it all possible!
xoxo Matt & Beau